Brandon Whipple

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Brandon Whipple
Brandon Whipple speaking.jpg
102nd Mayor of Wichita
Assumed office
January 13, 2020
Preceded byJeff Longwell
Member of the Kansas House of Representatives
from the 96th district
In office
January 14, 2013 – January 13, 2020
Preceded byPhil Hermanson
Succeeded byStephanie Yeager
Personal details
Born (1982-07-13) July 13, 1982 (age 40)
Rochester, New Hampshire, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
EducationWichita State University (BA, MA)
Franklin Pierce University (PhD)
WebsiteGovernment website

Brandon Whipple (born July 13, 1982) is an American politician and academic serving as Mayor of Wichita, Kansas. He previously served as a Democratic member of the Kansas House of Representatives representing the 96th district, which included part of south Wichita and was the Ranking Minority member on the Higher Education Budget committee.[1]

When the Kansas Legislature was not in session, Whipple served as an adjunct professor of American politics at Wichita State University, his alma mater.[2] Whipple defeated incumbent Jeff Longwell in the 2019 Wichita mayoral election.

Early life and education[edit]

Whipple was raised in Dover, New Hampshire.[3][4] He earned his Associate of Arts in liberal studies from New Hampshire's Hesser College in 2003.[5] He moved to Wichita, Kansas, at age 21 in a year-long education-service mission with AmeriCorps, working with at-risk youth at Wichita South High School. While there, he discovered he could afford to attend Wichita State University (WSU).[5] He graduated from WSU with a bachelor's degree in sociology and a minor in psychology; later at WSU, he earned a master’s degree in liberal studies, with an emphasis on cross-cultural studies and public administration. While at Wichita State, Whipple was a student senator in WSU's Student Government Association, an experience he credits as decisive in his later entry into the Kansas legislature (particularly a trip to the state capitol to lobby for student issues).[3][5]

Whipple later acquired a doctorate in leadership studies from Franklin Pierce University, a private college in New Hampshire.[3][5][6]


Subsequently, while serving in the Kansas Legislature, Whipple also served as an adjunct instructor for various Wichita-area colleges and universities, including Wichita State University, Southwestern College and some commercial colleges—particularly teaching political science, history and sociology.[5][3][6]

Kansas House of Representatives[edit]

Whipple first ran for the Kansas House of Representatives in 2010 against Phil Hermanson.[7] Whipple lost, but shortly afterward the Sedgwick County Democratic Party elected him its vice chair. In 2012, he was elected the county party's chair.[3][4]

That same year, in a run for the Kansas House 96th District seat (in south Wichita), he was criticized by Tea Party Republican Craig Gable for not having children.[8] Whipple defeated Republican Rick Lindsey.[3][9] Whipple was re-elected to the seat in 2014, 2016 and 2018,[3] in a district that voted for Donald Trump for president in 2016.[10]

In 2016, Whipple was elected Agenda Chair for the Democrats in the Kansas House of Representatives—the #6 position in House Democratic party leadership.[11] In 2018, he co-founded the bipartisan Kansas Future Caucus, a group of under-45 Kansas legislators, to focus attention on issues of concern to young people.[12]

Among his principal efforts in office was increased funding for education, particularly restoration of funding cuts made during the administration of Kansas governor Sam Brownback.[13][4]

In the 2019 Kansas Legislature, Whipple was Ranking minority member on the Joint Committee on Information Technology, and the Higher Education Budget Committee. He was also assigned to the Committee on Elections and the Joint Committee on Corrections and Juvenile Justice Oversight.[14][15]

Committee assignments[edit]

2019–2020 session[16]

  • Ranking Minority Member of Higher Education Budget
  • Ranking Minority Member of Joint Information Technology
  • Elections
  • Joint Corrections and Juvenile Justice

2017–2018 session[17]

  • Ranking Minority Member of Commerce, Labor and Economic Development
  • Financial Institutions and Pensions
  • Higher Education Budget
  • Joint Information Technology

2015–2016 session[18]

  • Utilities and Telecommications
  • Commerce, Labor and Economic Development
  • Taxation
  • House Select Investigating Committee
  • Telecommunications Study Committee
  • Joint Information Technology

2013–2014 session[19]

  • Children and Seniors
  • Judiciary
  • Utilities and Telecommications
  • Commerce, Labor and Economic Development
  • Telecommunications Study Committee
  • Joint Information Technology

2019 Wichita mayoral race[edit]

Whipple ran in the 2019 election for mayor of Wichita.[20][21] In the nonpartisan primary election, preliminary results put Whipple (with 5,729 votes; 25.9% of the total) second only to Republican Mayor Longwell (who had 7,136 votes; 32.3%).[22][4] [23] Candidate Lyndy Wells, also a Republican, had only 160 votes fewer in initial returns: 5,569 votes; 25.2%, so delayed acceptance of the result in hopes that a review of 1,000 yet-uncounted ballots (including 500 provisional ballots) might turn the election to his favor.[24][25][26] The final count nearly doubled Whipple's lead over Wells,[26] advancing Whipple and Longwell to the ballot for the November 5 runoff election.[22][4][23] Wells mounted a write-in campaign.

In October 2019, Whipple found himself the victim of an elaborate, multi-state, covert smear campaign in which Republican state Representative Michael Capps was implicated as a perpetrator.[27] After Sedgwick County, Kansas Republican party chair Dalton Glasscock called for Capps to resign, Capps claimed that Glasscock had actually approved the production of the ad, which Glasscock denied.[28] Money raised for the production of the video was alleged to have been laundered through a charitable non-profit organization directed by Capps to conceal the identities of the alleged perpetrators.[29]

Newly created anonymous entities also attacked both Whipple and Wells weighed via several mailers. Although the sending organizations used different names, they were all linked through a postal permit held by a Kansas City bulk-mail service. The funding of the salacious video as well as the anonymous mailers will not be required to be reported, according to the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission. It has ruled outside organizations must report their identities and spending only if they use specific key terms such as "vote for," "elect," "vote against" or "defeat". The Democratic party was also criticized for publicly sending a mailer claiming that Longwell was being investigated by the District Attorney for "corruption". In fact, he had just been advised to report contributions and gifts received from the contractor to which a half-billion-dollar contract had been awarded.[30]

On election day, November 5, 2019, Longwell conceded the election to Whipple, who won with 46% of the ballots versus 36% for Longwell, with the balance cast for write-in candidates which remained to be counted. The results were certified on November 15, 2019.[30]

In October 2020, Whipple, represented by former U.S. Attorney Randy Rathbun, filed suit against Capps, Wichita City Councilman James Clendenin, and Sedgwick County Commissioner Michael O'Donnell, for defamation involving the false charges made against him in the 2019 mayoral election race. Allegations cited were that the co-conspirators tried to blame the conspiracy on Sedgwick Republican County Committee Chairman Dalton Glasscock, and that, with false accusations, they intended to generate marital discord within Whipple's own family.[31] To conceal the donors and funding of the smear, monies were said to have been laundered through a 501(c)3 non-profit charity directed by Capps. The suit had originally been filed against the maker of the video, Matthew Colburn.[29] It was dropped after Colburn provided audio, text messages, and other evidence, that had identified O'Donnell as the alleged leader of the conspiracy to defame Whipple. O'Donnell was accused of writing the script for the video frame-up,[29] Whipple said that he felt sorry for the then-21-year-old Colburn who had been scapegoated by the actual perpetrators.[29] On November 25, Marc Bennett, the Sedgwick County D.A., moved to have the state take up the case of the removal of Capps from office since the D.A. is precluded from doing so by statute in the case of a state legislator. He was proceeding to remove Clendenin from the City Council where he possessed such authority.[32]


On October 16, 2020, Meredith Dowty, a 59-year-old local musician and retired firefighter, was arrested on suspicion of threatening to kidnap and kill Whipple after he attempted to get his address from another city official. He was reportedly frustrated by the city's mask ordinance and other mitigation measures against the COVID-19 pandemic, which prevented him from seeing his mother. Whipple, who had been a target of local criticism for passing the ordinance, said he will increase security at his home in response to the alleged threat. Dowty could face a charge of criminal threat.[33]

Personal life[edit]

Whipple is married to Chelsea (Grady) Whipple, also a Wichita State University graduate. The two are members of the Episcopal Church.[34] She directs programs for St. James Episcopal Church in Wichita and is the treasurer of his mayoral campaign. The couple have three boys.[3][23][34][6]


Wichita mayoral election, 2019[35][36]
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Nonpartisan Jeff Longwell (incumbent) 7,409 32.1
Nonpartisan Brandon Whipple 6,067 26.3
Nonpartisan Lyndy Wells 5,770 25.0
Nonpartisan Amy Lyon 1,470 6.4
Nonpartisan Mark Gietzen 1,349 5.8
Nonpartisan Brock Booker 457 2.0
Nonpartisan Ian Demory 239 1.0
Nonpartisan Joshua Atkinson 166 0.7
Nonpartisan Marty Mork 144 0.6
Total votes 23,071 100.0
General election
Nonpartisan Brandon Whipple 22,256 46.1
Nonpartisan Jeff Longwell (incumbent) 17,516 36.3
Nonpartisan Write-in 8,516 17.6
Total votes 48,288 100.0
Kansas House of Representatives 96th district election, 2018[37]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Brandon Whipple (incumbent) 3,483 94.7
Nonpartisan Write-in 196 5.3
Total votes 3,679 100.0
Democratic hold
Kansas House of Representatives 96th district election, 2016[38]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Brandon Whipple (incumbent) 4,346 97.3
Nonpartisan Write-in 120 2.7
Total votes 4,466 100.0
Democratic hold
Kansas House of Representatives 96th district election, 2014[39]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Brandon Whipple (incumbent) 2,544 56.1
Republican Rick Lindsey 1,983 43.8
Total votes 4,531 100.0
Democratic hold
Kansas House of Representatives 96th district election, 2012[40]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Brandon Whipple 3,509 58.4
Republican Rick Lindsey 2,490 41.4
Total votes 6,008 100.0
Democratic gain from Republican
Kansas House of Representatives 96th district election, 2010[41]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Phil Hermanson (incumbent) 2,660 52.9
Democratic Brandon Whipple 2,355 46.8
Total votes 5,027 100.0
Republican hold


  1. ^ "Representative Brandon Whipple". Retrieved October 2, 2019.
  2. ^ Cameron, Kylie. "WSU adjunct professor, alumnus running for mayor of Wichita". Retrieved October 2, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Caudill, Daniel, "Kansas legislator Brandon Whipple hopes to prioritize education, public input as mayor", July 17, 2019, The Sunflower (student newspaper of Wichita State University), retrieved September 18, 2019
  4. ^ a b c d e Caudill, Daniel, "State Rep. Brandon Whipple set to challenge Mayor Jeff Longwell in November", August 12, 2019, The Sunflower (student newspaper of Wichita State University), retrieved September 18, 2019
  5. ^ a b c d e Whipple, Brandon [apparently self-reported], "Brandon Whipple",, retrieved September 18, 2019
  6. ^ a b c "Brandon Whipple - Candidate for Wichita Mayor", July 29, 2019, updated August 5, 2019, KSNW-TV News at, retrieved September 18, 2019
  7. ^[bare URL]
  8. ^ Brandon Whipple Attacked For Not Having Children, Huffington Post, John Celock, November 5, 2012. Retrieved November 30, 2019.
  9. ^ "Brandon Whipple Wins Kansas House Seat After Being Attacked For Not Having Children". HuffPost. November 9, 2012. Retrieved August 9, 2019.
  10. ^ Hawver, Martin, "Whither the political wind?", Jun 20, 2018, Martin Hawver, Hawver News Company, in the Emporia Gazette, retrieved September 18, 2019
  11. ^ "Democratic Leadership Election Results", December 5, 2016, Kansas Democratic Party, retrieved September 19, 2019
  12. ^ Koranda, Stephen "Young Kansas Lawmakers Band Together To Form Millennial Caucus", February 9, 2018, KMUW-FM News on, retrieved September 18, 2019
  13. ^ Booker, Matt, "Democrats have a chance to flip mayor's office in Kansas' largest city after surprise finish", August 08, 2019, Daily Kos, retrieved September 18, 2019
  14. ^ "Representative Brandon Whipple: District 96 - Democrat", 2019, Kansas House of Representatives, retrieved September 18, 2019
  15. ^ "New chairs on House Education committees for 2019 session," December 21, 2018, Kansas Association of School Boards, retrieved September 19, 2019
  16. ^ "Representative Brandon Whipple 2019-2020 Session". Retrieved December 8, 2019.
  17. ^ "Representative Brandon Whipple 2017-2018 Session". Retrieved December 8, 2019.
  18. ^ "Representative Brandon Whipple 2015-2016 Session". Retrieved December 8, 2019.
  19. ^ "Representative Brandon Whipple 2013-2014 Session". Retrieved December 8, 2019.
  20. ^[bare URL]
  21. ^ Seminoff, Kirk, assoc. ed., "With filing deadline gone, see who's running for mayor and other seats," June 3, 2019, Wichita Business Journal
  22. ^ a b McCoy, Daniel, "Longwell, Whipple top primary results for Wichita mayor ", Aug 7, 2019, Wichita Business Journal, retrieved September 18, 2019
  23. ^ a b c "Open For Business For Everyone"[permanent dead link], on the "Brandon Whipple: Mayor for Wichita" official website, retrieved September 18, 2019
  24. ^ Lefler, Dion, "Late ballot counting dims Wells' hope of catching Whipple in Wichita mayor race", August 10, 2019, Wichita Eagle on, retrieved September 18, 2019
  25. ^ Faulx, Nadya, "Longwell, Whipple Head To November Election For Wichita Mayor", Aug 6, 2019, KMUW-FM News, retrieved September 18, 2019
  26. ^ a b Lefler, Dion, "Final results: Longwell and Whipple to face off in mayor's race; vote audit clean", August 15, 2019, Wichita Eagle, retrieved September 18, 2019
  27. ^ Rep. Capps can't explain why his firm's listed as creator of anti-Whipple fake-ad site, Wichita Eagle, Dion Lefler and Chance Swaim, November 1, 2019. Retrieved November 4, 2019.
  28. ^ GOP lawmaker accuses county Republican chair of approving ad against mayoral candidate, Wichita Eagle, Dion Lefler and Chance Swaim, November 3, 2019. Retrieved November 4, 2019.
  29. ^ a b c d Video-maker dropped from Whipple’s defamation lawsuit after turning over evidence, Wichita Eagle, Chance Swaim, October 23, 2020. Retrieved October 24, 2020.
  30. ^ a b Update 9:52 p.m.: In victory speech, Whipple vows to return government to the people, Wichita Eagle, Dion Lefler and Chance Swaim, November 5, 2019. Retrieved November 6, 2019.
  31. ^ O’Donnell, Capps, Clendenin conspired to smear Whipple, blame GOP chair, lawsuit says, Wichita Eagle, Dion Lefler and Chance Swaim, October 14, 2020. Retrieved October 21, 2020.
  32. ^ District attorney moves to oust Wichita City Council member James Clendenin, Wichita Eagle, CHANCE SWAIM AND DION LEFLER, NOVEMBER 25, 2020. Retrieved November 25, 2020.
  33. ^ Swaim, Chance; Lefler, Dion; Stavola, Michael (October 16, 2020). "One arrested in threat to kidnap and kill Wichita mayor over COVID-19 mask mandate". The Wichita Eagle. Retrieved October 17, 2020.
  34. ^ a b Paulsen, David, "Episcopal faith is common ground for Kansas lawmakers on opposite sides of political aisle," July 17, 2017, Episcopal News Service, Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, The Episcopal Church. Retrieved September 18, 2019
  35. ^ "August 6, 2019 Primary Election". Retrieved October 2, 2019.
  36. ^ "November 5, 2019 General Election". Retrieved November 6, 2019.
  37. ^ "November 6, 2016 General Election". Sedgwick County, KS Elections Office. Retrieved October 2, 2019.
  38. ^ "November 8, 2016 General Election". Sedgwick County, KS Elections Office. Retrieved October 2, 2019.
  39. ^ "November 4, 2014 General Election". Sedgwick County, KS Elections Office. Retrieved October 2, 2019.
  40. ^ "November 6, 2012 General Election". Sedgwick County, KS Elections Office. Retrieved October 2, 2019.
  41. ^ "November 2, 2010 General Election". Sedgwick County, KS Elections Office. Retrieved October 2, 2019.

External links[edit]

Kansas House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the Kansas House of Representatives
from the 96th district

Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Mayor of Wichita